If you’ve ever stood on the coast of North Devon and looked out to sea you might have spotted an island just off the coast, that is Lundy Island and it is one of Devon’s most magical spots. There are ferries you can catch across from Ilfracombe and Bideford or a helicopter in the winter months, but if you’ve never been before here are five reasons why you should add it to your itineraries next time you’re heading to north Devon.
- The wildlife
Lundy Island might only be 3 miles long, but it has a vast eco system with a whole host of fascinating wildlife that you rarely see elsewhere. The most famous residents are the puffins, but there are also a number of rare birds that bring birdwatchers all year around. The marine life includes dolphins, several different seals and basking sharks and on land you can see wild soay sheep and sika deer. The whole island is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest and wherever you look there will be something new to fascinate you, whether its plants or animals.
- The history
Aside from the natural beauty, Lundy has a fascinating history. It is currently owned by the National Trust and managed by the Landmark Trust but before that it changed hands several times. In the 1800s it was bought by William Hudson Heaven, a wealthy businessman from Gloucestershire and then in 1925 was purchased by Martin Coles Harman. After his death, it passed into the Landmark Trust and National Trust with help from philanthropist Jack Hayward. The rich history can be seen in the buildings and the island’s village, it has 41 monuments and a number of listed buildings ranging from Bronze Age settlements, Medieval castles, Victorian churches and a Georgian lighthouse.
- You can escape modernity
There are several accommodation options on Lundy Island so you can stay over if you like, but be warned, there is no television, radio or telephones on the island. Some of the properties don’t even have electricity, so it is the best place to escape modern life and immerse yourself in nature.
- The best place for being active
Lundy Island is England’s only statutory Marine Nature Reserve, so naturally, diving is restricted but those of you wanting to explore the waters around the island will need to book with one of the island’s diving expeditions, they even provide you with equipment. Booking onto a dive with the team at Lundy will mean that you won’t be swimming around crowded waters and you can really get up close and personal with the incredible creatures that live here. Similarly, you can book rock climbing sessions as Lundy Island boasts some of the best sea cliff climbing opportunities in Devon. Again, these are controlled so that climbers don’t disturb the birds during nesting seasons.
- It’s ranked as one of the most beautiful places in Britain
That’s true! In 2005 the readers of the Radio Times named it as Britain’s tenth greatest natural wonder and once you’ve visited you’ll be inclined to agree!